Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 7 | #AAPI and Interracial Relationships

Think you know what a BAD is? How about a SCAB?

Episode 7 of Reappropriate: The Podcast is now live! In this episode, I’m joined by guests Juliet Shen (@juliet_shen, Fascinasians), KJ Park (@kyungjunpark), and Trungles (@trungles) to discuss how the interracial relationship issue within the AAPI community informs — and is informed by — notions of gender, sexuality and white supremacy. Definitely worth checking out!

You can stream the audio and video of the episode through YouTube (above) or just the audio version (below). Subscribe to the podcast through the iTunes store or through YouTube.

Next episode: Please join me next week (October 6th, 9pm EST / 6pm PST) for part two of my conversation with Cayden Mak (@cayden) of 18MillionRising on digital activism as decolonial tools of social change. You can RSVP to watch here!

 

Did you like this post? Please support Reappropriate on Patreon!
  • Ray

    I can’t speak with confidence about what exactly a SCAB analog is for Black men, but if I had to guess, it would likely not look anything like a SCAB because the racism that confronts Black men is incredibly different than that which confronts the SCAB. As such, the response of compensatory whiteness (as it relates to misogyny or otherwise) might also look very different.

    From the conversations I’ve had with Black male friends and why they date exclusively White women, the reasons are many, agreed.

    “Should a progressive conversation within minority communities on sexual stereotypes attack these motivations differently, even when they result in sexist actions that are virtually indistinguishable from one another, or from the juvenile sexism associated with bro culture?”

    I think it all depends on what you want to do. For me, focusing on motivations vs focusing on behavior are very different, as the former opens up the possibility of allyship and a type of social exploration that might produce real ideological shifts. Here, “attack” isn’t a suitable verb at least for me, as my theory of change (at least when it comes to this issue in my community) has always been slow but effective deconstruction through social osmosis. I don’t want to nitpick, but it frames what I’m about to say.

    For some AA men, their feeling emasculated is literally the only time or the very first time they’ve known of the effects – any effect – of structural White male supremacy. Many AA men, like many White people, are simply in the dark (we can debate true ignorance or choosing not to hear later) about violence to women, the long history of Jim Crow, how White supremacy plays out on every rung of the criminal justice system, existing structures of White oppression of Black bodies via a brutal police force, the cumulative generational interest of social outcomes within the Native American community as a direct result of structural, racialized violence, etc. For some of these men, we have a huge opportunity to seed ideas of allyship, and to describe how AA mens’ feelings of being ostracized, loneliness and pain are all connected to other axes of power/oppression and other people’s pain. But we also have to pick our battles and our audiences, because particular types of men have particular types of pain that mingle with ignorance, that ultimately allow then to think that they have a type of niche victimhood, which lets them burrow into ourselves even more. And when they’re really inside of themselves, shit gets weird because their Pain – capital P, that is, *niche* victimhood – produces really parochial conversations that suggest that getting AA men’s collective dicks sucked is the be-all-end-all to ending White supremacy. It is not. Here, we have to encourage AA men to steer away from the path of thinking that merely re-organizing the little sliver of White supremacy that affects their own demographic – and sometimes through the very sexist/racist means by which they feel subordinated by – is the ultimate product of resistance for which we should work. Sure, we all want individual liberation but we must also seed bigger dreams! Getting beyond this takes an intersectional approach to talking, work and dialoguing, particularly about other issues that do not directly affect AA men but are similarly products of racialized violence or White supremacy. Others’ peoples pain does not allow AA men to transcend their own pain, but to see how their experience might actually be interconnected to bigger, systemic issues and maybe even provide them channels of engagement that get them outside of themselves. Those two things – recognizing their pain as well as introducing them to the struggles of others – are not mutually exclusive but actually work together.

    Opening up social exploration for changing minds is not about ignoring or belittling the pain that AA men feel or even over-focusing on the symptoms of their pain. Let me be clear that the comments “stop whining” or “get over it, it’s not so bad compared to X” or “stop being such pussies” leveraged mostly by AA women, White men and even other AA men who believe they have transcended these politics almost never helps. If we don’t recognize AA men’s pain, we are actually complicity cooperating with the very mechanisms of maladaptively machismo that lock AA men into themselves: a machismo that suggest that “pain is weakness, so always minimize your pain; if you ignore it, it won’t exist; burrow deeper into yourself; lash out on the internet.” Here, that form of burrowing masculinity traps men, as they trade the therapeutic interconnectedness of niche communities on the internet for the sham anesthetic of easy hate through anonymous hate or trolling. It’s noteworthy to mention that there is a difference between recognizing and perhaps redirecting this pain and tolerating sexist/racist arguments that are purportedly derived from this pain. Yes, some AA men are simply bigots or sexists or racists; still, keep in mind the sweet allure – if not merely for its simplicity – that avenues of sexism, racism or bigotry provide as a salve for pain. And even then, the paths to bigotry, sexism and racism are still many! I’m not justifying, but explaining, and here, merely explaining *some* men’s descent into the deep underbelly of troll-dom. And sometimes for some AA men, getting beyond their own solipsistic victimhood or biases or hate isn’t possible or practically, it’s so hard that it isn’t worth our time. But we have to see why people do the things they do in order to direct social deconstruction. And that requires gauging motivations.

    And of course I am directly my thoughts on heterosexual AA men only and perhaps only some of them. Thanks for joining me on this narrative journey deep into Troll City! Haha. Again, let me know your thoughts.

  • Ray

    Directing*

  • (Note: Ray and I began conversing over email. The conversation got good so I’m advocating that we move the convo here. This is my first reply to him after he poked me to ask for my thoughts. I’m waiting for him to copy and paste his response so I can add my second email to him.)

    Hi Ray,

    I’m so sorry I know that I’ve been totally ignoring you, and that is not intentional (the blog itself has not been getting enough attention this past week). I absolutely would love to shift a focus towards how men can engage with feminism, and I plan on bringing this topic up in a post I hope to write this evening regarding GamerGate. In part, I planned on drawing from your comment to talk about it, so perhaps that might serve as a way to further the conversation in a more relevant thread?

    I did have one thought that jumped out immediately from your earlier comment – what do you define as a LOAF? I confess I immediately chafed at the acronym, because it seemed to equate “liberated” or “outspoken” with something derogatory. My concern with the acronym is that, in my mind, the SCAB – sexist cool Asian bro – is someone who is replicating structures of oppression – sexism – in attempting to combat stereotypes. So, in essence, reinforcing stereotypes against other while challenging those against his own, which is fundamental to how one characterizes the SCAB. Yet, in LOAF, you don’t have that inherent characteristic – there is not something that fundamentally relies upon denigrating men (Asian or otherwise) in being a liberated woman, or buying into another set of stereotypes. I consider myself a “liberated”, and “opinionated” woman, yet there are other aspects of myself that fall outside of your definition of a LOAF; I don’t consider myself someone who is doing this BECAUSE I want to replicate stereotypes or appropriate Whiteness. So what is the distinction, if any, between the LOAF you describe – someone who apparently defines themselves predominantly through being the “anti-Asian Asian woman” – and someone like myself? And is that obvious in the name?

    Basically, I’m asking what the difference you think there is between a LOAF and… well… an Asian American feminist? I think you do think there is a distinction, but it’s not entirely clear to me what the difference might be.

    Does that make sense?

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Ray

    (From our email, reposted here.)

    Hi Jenn,

    Thanks for responding!

    Your comment makes total sense, and I completely agree with you that the word choice within “LOAF” did not fundamentally highlight maladaptive Whiteness. To be clear, that’s what I wanted to add to the debate, that you can find maladaptive Whiteness on both sides of the gender line. Although the LOAF doesn’t replicate structures of sexism, she too replicates structures of racism – namely, to other AAPI men, African Americans and her own demographic – in order to respond to her own racialized sexism. Because race and gender of AAPI men and women are fundamentally related within the power structures of White patriarchy, how the LOAF treats both AAPI men and women could be viewed as a form of sexism too.

    I wanted to make it clear that what I described as a “LOAF” was not merely any outspoken Asian-American woman and I wrote that as such. I believe that an Asian-American feminist vs who I wanted to describe as “LOAF” relate to and conceptualize Whiteness and Asian-Americanness very differently. The former doesn’t conceive of liberation contingent upon appropriating tools of White denigration of other groups and doesn’t focus on individual liberation via respectability politics. I think that the Asian-American feminist conceptualizes those qualities like being outspoken or opinionated as good qualities (just as the LOAF), but not qualities that are White-centric or positioned opposite to a fixed, essentialized “Asian” identity. I think for the Asian-American feminist (man or woman), the idea of cultural space inextricably linked to an intersectional way of thinking about both race and gender is possible, whereby a woman does not have to choose between her political agency and her race. I believe that Asian-American feminists leave a type of recreative room that prevents the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby AAPIs with progressive or different views on gender, vocation or politics will feel compelled to retreat to spaces that do not fly under the banner of the AAPI experience; this type of recreative space ultimately prevents the reinforcement of representation of the AAPI experience as monolithic and static. Does that make sense? Do you disagree?

    You’re absolutely right about my word choice and the fact that the crucial difference wasn’t reflected in my word choice for “LOAF,” and I’m very sorry for that. I’m not sure if this is necessary to say, but I want to err conservatively and say that I certainly wasn’t directing the LOAF comment to you. I hope I didn’t offend and that some of my other points came across outside of the distraction of this misnomer.

    This is not a retort at all, but merely an additional comment: a few of the AAPI men to which I sent this video to also chafed at the idea of SCAB, not because they didn’t recognize that this person existed in society, but because they thought you could be “sexy” or “cool” without being sexist. This includes Neal (we’re good friends). Perhaps we tread on thin ice whenever we open up the possibility of lumping people politically into a term and it takes some nuance to differentiate vs to lump. I now regret using the term LOAF and should have chose another more differentiating term.

    Your question brings up an important difference in the way we conceptualize power dynamics for AAPI men and women; namely, that AAPI women have to deal with both inter-group AAPI sexism and the sexism independent of the AAPI community (sexism at large, White patriarchal sexism, etc.). I wonder if those things are difficult to separate and whether it’s useful to separate. What do you think? Perhaps we could talk about this for another time.

    Thanks again for your time.

    Best,
    Ray

  • Hey Ray,

    Thanks for your comment! Re: SCAB and those who chafe – I would absolutely agree. I actually think the acronym would be better as “Sexist Chauvinistic Asian Bro”. This podcast was literally the first I had heard of such an acronym, but that would be my addition to it.

    I also agree with you regarding maladaptive Whiteness and want to clarify that I understand that this is your intention. I agree with you, actually, quite a bit on this point, but think that – like SCAB — the language we use is unclear. The point you make here:

    “. I think for the Asian-American feminist (man or woman), the idea of cultural space inextricably linked to an intersectional way of thinking about both race and gender is possible, whereby a woman does not have to choose between her political agency and her race.”

    … is the essential bit. The feminist (again male or female) is the AAPI who wants to explore issues of patriarchy, sexism and gender equality as an intersection, in an effort to nuance and shape our conception of AAPI identity. He or she is, pretty much as a consequence of being someone interested in social justice, also going to be someone who is opinionated on these topics, and liberated from conventional stereotypes. This person may even consider him or herself as breaking stereotypes in their outspoken-ness, but only insofar as they reject the stereotype in the first place. That is to say, a person who is outspoken rejects the essentializing of the Asian American as the model minority, and sees being outspoken as being EQUALLY as authentically Asian American as the person who is apolitical, not less Asian and more White.

    The problem of course is how to reflect this nuance in our language (or if, indeed, labels are even necessary).

    “and I’m very sorry for that”

    Don’t be. I’m not offended at all; I mostly seek clarification. Re: using lumping terms – this is actually my fear with words like SCAB or even BAD (although the latter, I think, has become a fairly well-defined sub-ID within the AAPI community).

    “AAPI women have to deal with both inter-group AAPI sexism and the sexism independent of the AAPI community (sexism at large, White patriarchal sexism, etc.). I wonder if those things are difficult to separate and whether it’s useful to separate. What do you think? Perhaps we could talk about this for another time. “

    Can I answer that whole set of questions with just “yes”? Because that would be true.

  • Addendum:

    “I believe that Asian-American feminists leave a type of recreative room that prevents the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby AAPIs with progressive or different views on gender, vocation or politics will feel compelled to retreat to spaces that do not fly under the banner of the AAPI experience; this type of recreative space ultimately prevents the reinforcement of representation of the AAPI experience as monolithic and static. Does that make sense? Do you disagree?”

    If by “leave” you mean “endeavour to create”, I think you have encapsulated perfectly what AAPI feminism is. I only offer the edit insofar as I think this is the central theme of AAPI feminism (and really all branches of Third World feminism), but that the use of the word “leave” implies that such political space has been successfully created. I think that there is a good deal of misunderstanding of AAPI feminism which actually undermines the realization of this goal; realization of this purpose requires that AAPI feminism have a place within mainstream AAPI identity such that such room can be both created and be meaningful. So long as AAPI feminism is both misconstrued and rendered to the margins, whatever room the AAPI feminist creates amongst herself and her friends cannot by definition impact the larger AAPI identity.

    Does that make sense to you?

  • (Everything below this comment is no longer from our email exchange)

  • Ray

    Yes, absolutely!

    “The problem of course is how to reflect this nuance in our language”

    Agreed, nuanced language is so important. And there’s an interesting tension between inclusive, but clunky language vs precise but hyper-academic language. After all, we prescribe the boundaries of our audience with our language.

    “If by “leave” you mean “endeavour to create”, I think you have encapsulated perfectly what AAPI feminism is.”

    Yes, I originally meant “leave” as in “allow for the possibility of.” I prefer “endeavor to create” too. Thanks for adding that.

    “I think that there is a good deal of misunderstanding of AAPI feminism which actually undermines the realization of this goal; realization of this purpose requires that AAPI feminism have a place within mainstream AAPI identity such that such room can be both created and be meaningful. So long as AAPI feminism is both misconstrued and rendered to the margins, whatever room the AAPI feminist creates amongst herself and her friends cannot by definition impact the larger AAPI identity.”

    I think this is what I’m pointing to when I see even my progressive Asian-American female friends who have tried to propose some type of faux-AA feminism that is independent from the AAPI community, or that excludes all AA men, and perhaps is an identity that bands around the general badness of some AAPI men. Of course, these bad experiences are a direct result of AAPI male chauvinism/misogyny and I certainly want to address that frustration and pain within our community. But I can’t feel that this response is a misconstruing of the broader power dynamics of the AAPI community within the power structure of White patriarchy. I can understand why the frustration/pain would point to the prospect of a political identity that is independent, but barring men or separation from the AAPI community in many ways creates new false binaries for everyone that are at odds with intersectionality.

    AAPI men have played a distinct role in ostracizing AA feminists within the broader AAPI space to the margins. We as AAPI men too have a lot of work to do for creating the space for AA feminism, not only because of strategic allyship or that it betters other people or even because “it’s the right thing to do” but because feminism works upon us men and allows us liberation too. That needs to be understood by both AAPI us all – men and women. Also, perhaps we can learn from some of the mistakes of the Civil Rights Movement, whereby Black feminists that were vocal about misogyny within the Black community were essentially silenced based on the controversial idea of “strategic” essentialism: that a plurality of persona for which to band around (Black gays and women and the Black upper-class all had to “unite” around the imagery of the lower-class, heterosexual Black man) dilutes the power of unity, that intersectionality “weakens the cause.” We constantly propagate this idea within our community too.

    Instead of talking about labels of maladaptive Whiteness, I’d love to shift our conversation and to get your take on how AAPI men specifically might push for more intersectional spaces in this community.

  • Junweiwei

    In general I am sorry for Asian American women that Asian American male sexists exist and get on your nerves.

    But outmarriage statistics are actually important, because for an sociologist it is a measure for social distance and social mobility. Normally women marry up and men marry down the status hierarchy and you can predict the status of the children from combinations of status of father, mother, grandfather,…

    For economists the outmarriage rate is also very interesting, because of the transnational nature of Asian American diaspora, there are an very great flow of remittances, tourism dollar, trade, patent and entrepreneurship between the USA and the kin states. It helps the kin states to circumvent the credit rationing if they are below the BBB sovereign rating to get access to international capital market. During the Asian crisis the Asian American diasporas are very helpful with resource transfers.

    The transnational politics of Asian America help to start revolution and sustain it and their opinion are valuable to help move discourse forward. Most times there are no spectacular events like the fall of imperial China or the Pacific war against Japan that needs the constant lobbying effort of the diasporas.

    In labour politics it is valuable if Asian Americans address the over-exploitation of Chinese women for American consumption and point out that the debt-financed American lifestyle is actually financed with Chinese workers and peasantry savings.

    The petrodollar demand for US trasuries are actually backed by American military might, because the US troups protect Arabian monarchies and dictatorships. The Japanese buy US treasuries, because they cannot get rid of US troups from the Persian Gulf and hence they need USD to buy oil.

    Asian American feminism are seriously misleaded if they narrow their themes on intersection of race, gender and class within the USA and imitate black feminism.

    They are wrong on debating community identity all the times, because this is the wrong scale. The right scale is transnational.

    It is a very great mistake to recycle liberal discourse because liberals and transnationalists are enemies. Liberal versions of justice normally set the scale of justice equal to the national territory. Nowadays the greatest injustice is not between ethnic groups within a nation state, but between the nation state.

    Liberal states are the main weapon of free trade imperialism of transnational companies. Most preferential trade agreements are constructed to help transnational companies to trade within their firms departments and sub-firms across borders. The well-beings of billions of people are dependent on shareholder value and transnational management elites.

    Transnational diasporas are the greatest source of resource transfer after foreign direct investments and they are ahead of development aid of all supranational institutions and nations states together.

    Transnational diasporas have to move forward and use the new transnational forums of World Social Forum and various global unions and NGO’s advocacy to get acess to institutional power.

    Inner minorities are the product of the nation state system and its cultural nationalism. The rise of the nation state from its European origin produced a vast amount of inner minorities who tries for decades to institutionalize their rights within the law of the nation state but also in global administrative law of supranantional institutions. They never had success, because of the one-sided gain for the inner minority and the lost power for the nation state.

    Transnational diasporas are fundamentally different from inner minorities, because of the triad structure of relationship between migration sending state, migration receiving state and diaspora which convert every political, economic and cultural conflict into a three-level game.

    Liberal internationalism advance cooperation between states and help diaspora kin states and the USA to form alliances against diasporas with the supranational framework of WTO, World Bank, IMF, ILO and various supporting UN organisations who measure the resource flow from diasporas and compile populations statictics.

    In domestic politics liberals make minorities issues look like a sideshow and confuse them with homogenization of different types of minorities – inner minorities, border minorities and transoceanic minorities.

    Black and Native Americans are very easily to police and the civil right movement already reached its limits with the election of Obama.

    Border minorities like Mexican Americans are still dangerous, because they immigrate in former Mexican territory and they bring a language spoken by hundred millions of people with them. European powers and Russia have a history of moving military assets to Latin America. China and Japan are competing to invest in Latin America. Mexican Americans have potential to become the new Irish Americans and shift the politics of the Democratic Party and the Republicans.

    Transoceanic minorities cannot shift their population stocks with undocumented immigration like border minorities and they are basically no threat to whiteness as dominant national identity. But Asian Americans belongs to the rich regions of Nothern East Asia and the strategic important region of South East Asia and South Asia – and they are sources of all free important production factors technology, capital and high-skilled labour.

    The talent pool depends on the size of marriages within a language group. You are right to critize a Japanese American man who scorn a Chinese American woman who date outside her race, because this is not his business. For a Chinese or Chinese American men outmarriage of Chinese women are indeed a lost, if they only marry into the white middle class. The marriage of a white middle class man is political and economical useless and this kind of men are useless for the advance of history, because we actually need elite cooperations.

    The both Chinese republics fought endless wars in Asia to advance modern social thought. In Africa and South America we support every decolonization project and eliminate American and European colonial powers.

    The great power transition and the emergence of a maritime trade world will re-establish the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean as most important oceans.

    We need more communication channels to convince the USA to stay in Asia to provide security for free without forcing us to confront the rising nationalism among Asian nations.

    So marry white men if they are powerful, influencial and rich and willing to help us – but please ignore poor, dumb and fat white men, because you suffer from self-internalized racism.

    The aristocracy of the old European monarchies knew what they did with their marriage policies. Nowadays the Anglo Five and Pacifc Rim Asian nations are the most powerful nations on earth. The Europeans does not count anymore for the next foreseeable decades. In our eras of pigmentocracy in the Western hemispheres you should adapt it.

    Diasporas live between these powers and have means to influence the evolution paths. You must only discover them and apply them with purposeful actions.

  • jonblaze1hq

    . If we don’t recognize AA men’s pain, we are actually complicity cooperating with the very mechanisms of maladaptively machismo that lock AA men into themselves.

    This part I wholeheartedly agree with. When AA men can’t express their own pain without being ostracized from within AA space is our own failure.

  • JohnnyMangoes

    The truth about white men and Asian men:

    http://www.longingfordeath.wordpress.com